Campbell Live won its first battle in the 7pm timeslot last night, by attracting more viewers than its current affairs rival Seven Sharp. This is the first time the Mediaworks show has overtaken any TV One 7pm programme, a massive blow for TVNZ which has probably got John Campbell yelling "bloody marvellous" from TV3's Mt Eden office.
According to Nielsen overnight results, Campbell Live brought in 352,600 viewers aged 5+ , compared to Seven Sharp's 296,700. Campbell Live had more viewers in the 18-49 and 25-54 age brackets too, and retained more than 90 percent of its lead in viewership from 3 News, while Seven Sharp saw half the TV One audience abandon the channel after 7pm.
However, TVNZ's Shortland Street maintains its 7pm dominance with 529,000 New Zealanders tuning in for last night's show.
It's unclear at this point if Seven Sharp viewers are switching to Campbell Live, as implied by a very excited TV3 press release this morning, or if other factors are involved. Yesterday's programme saw Campbell Live with a much publicised news exclusive of national importance, as Sanitarium chose the show to announce the end of the Marmageddon.
Campbell Live's viewership has seen steady gains in the last week, but until yesterday, so has Seven Sharp's. While Seven Sharp started off horribly, its content and format has been improving. Even NZ Herald media hard guy, John Drinnan, gave the show some rare praise last night.
Seven sharp quite tidy to-nite— John Drinnan (@Zagzigger) February 12, 2013
We'll need to finish off this week to see if last night's performance was just a blip caused by a national of Marmite lovers, or a sign that TV One's audience has truly accepted John Campbell's brand of current affairs.